Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Places, Happy Faces

Do you have certain places that just make you happy? Of course, home is one of those for me. I love walking into the house at the end of a day, just knowing I'm Home. It helps when the home is clean and pretty free of clutter ( :  The nicest days of Home are those days when you get to stay in and just enjoy it in housework and odd little jobs that have needed attention for some time, or just daily chores of paying bills, feeding the birds and taking the daily walk.

I have another favorite place that brings a smile to my face.  There's a little cafe in a town nearby. It is called Isabelle's.  The other day Mom, our friend Evelyn and I stopped off there on our "every two week grocery day".  When you step into Isabelle's it just brings a smile to your face. I thought about it while sitting there; most of the visitors are "regulars" whose black and white framed pictures hang on the walls. Bev greets you from behind the counter and Robin is almost always our waitress. Bev's hubby, Bob, makes the BEST pie crusts (because he uses lard, of course). Robin asks, "what kind of pie do you ladies want me to set aside for you today?" She's thoughtful that way, and knows us pretty well too! Friday she brought out three pieces of strawberry rhubarb, that sat at the end of the table until we were ready for them.  Years ago, my friend Debbie and I went there for the first time. We just adored the sunflowers and pansies (her favorite), each table having a different old-fashioned set of salt and pepper shakes. We decided that it should be called "Best Friends Cafe" or "Girlfriends" - but Isabelle's is cute too.

As we enjoyed our grilled cheese with ham and tomato, I noticed that most everyone was smiling and laughing. As folks came through the door, they would glance around and make eye contact and smile, as did we, saying, "hi" or just nodding a hello. In a place like this you just begin to feel that you know everyone. It's a truly 'homey' atmosphere. For some reason this time it made more of an impression upon me as usual. Anyone traveling along Route 5 who has stopped in at Isabelle's probably knows what I mean.

When I was first married I used to hate to travel to new places. I grew up with a 'nervous stomach' and it crippled me for years. I hated to go to even FUN things, like the birthday party of a friend (though I loved having my own birthday parties, selfish); early school days were a dire problem. This followed me even into my teen years (thankfully, I grew to really love school). When first married I was afraid to go on trips. Something about getting away from home made me very nervous. Poor Syd, and he was so patient. It wasn't until about our second year of marriage (I was 20 years old) that I let the Lord really take control of this. The verse, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear." was a wonderful help to me. Our pastor reminded me that when I realize how much God loves me I need not fear anything that comes in the path. Our loving Lord will take care of whatever concerns His children. As Syd and I were away for a weekend, soon after, I settled it with the Lord. When I am with my husband and my Lord, I am at 'home'. This world is only my temporary home until the Lord brings me to my permanent, heavenly one. It is amazing the transformation when we finally give something over to God! New situations and settings actually thrill me now and I only get 'homesick' when Syd's away.  Driving in the snow, which used to make my stomach churn, is like going sledding to me now. The Lord is what makes us "at home". He is our dwelling place!!
These thoughts of home bring the greatest smile of all!

I hope you know the love of this precious Lord. God loved us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins; even when we were His enemies (Romans 5:8). With the Lord is the happiest place of all! It brings a smile to the face and a song on the lips.

Here is Sturm, enjoying the pleasures of Grammy's home.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Spring" Snow and Mud

It's a morning with very light snow. Each tiny twig is frosted with white and peering from my porch, through the trees, a haphazard painting of white on white is seen.  Misty gray-white serves as backdrop beyond the woods.

Just yesterday my Mom and I trekked through muddy tire tracks on our sunny morning walk. Sturm picked his path, around the puddles, aiming for snowy patches instead; while Ruger bounded with enthusiasm across whatever he found in his way. I truly love walking during mud season (which has not actually started yet, I just like to think so). Spring is "almost" here, as we never know what March will actually bring - nor April, for that matter.

I hear the wind now, coming in waves across the tops of our tall poplars. For a time I will sit and write, drinking my coffee and preparing for this new day. The picture from my window vantage point has changed now; turning from grays to almost sepia with the brightening sky. I thought I would include the photo of our little owl friend. As those of you who visit the Hill know, Mom and I fashioned him from burdock, so plentiful here. In the two weeks that he's been perched on the tree beside the road he has been through snows and wind. Last Sunday Mom and I stopped on our way to church, as he was hanging totally upside down. He's sitting quite soundly now, though I did not check this morning on my way by.
We call him Burdy

Well, the coffee is gone and I must go on to do a few things before I leave. Take care on the snow and ice this morning, and if you drive on the backroads, remember to keep toward the middle. They may be covered with white right now but that beautiful mud is getting deeper and this weekend promises warm temperatures. Happy Spring! It's "almost" here!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Blessing through a Radio Message

While doing my housework this morning my heart was blessed through a message by Dr. Randy Leedy. It is such a joy to have a computer. Logging on to is one good source to hear messages.  This morning he was continuing a theme he called, The Culture of Heaven.  Today's message was out of Jeremiah 31:31-33, entitled "Law Without Legalism" and spoke of the new covenant that God has made through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to fulfill or "fill out" the old testament law and certainly expects true believers to take heed to the teachings He sets forth in the entire Bible. There was more contained in this message than I could ever have the ability to share with you here.

One thing that the Lord reminded me of, though, was that obedience springs from the heart and it is a heart given over to Him that makes me desire to maintain God's new testament laws. I can agree with Jesus Christ's teachings and God's commandments contained in the old and new testaments, and could even "look good on the outside" at times, but all this "agreeing" does not make me a christian who walks with a pure heart. I was encouraged this morning to continue to allow God to make me get to know and understand the culture of Heaven. I grew up in a culture of worldliness.  All around me are pleasures that may be had by making a simple decision. It takes a close, loving, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and careful understanding of God's Word to combat the pull of the culture that is all around me.
This message was just one more thing that the Lord brought into my life this week to guide and lead me closer to Him.  I truly believe that my heavenly Father uses the Bible and many circumstances throughout the week in preparation of coming to gather with the saints on the Lord's day, to sit under the preaching of a pastor who truly leads the flock.

Am I willing to be engaged in the Culture of Heaven?

A couple thoughts that came to me this morning: God is not impressed with me, nor is He desirous for me to impress others. This christian life is not a competition or a spiritual beauty contest. He just wants me to be willing for Him to make me what He wants me to be. When I stand before Him at the wonderful Judgement Seat of Christ one day, it will just be me and Him.

Oh, Lord, please make me all that YOU want me to be. You are Sovreign and know what is best at all times.

Love and Answered Prayer

It is a quiet Thursday morning and my schedule has changed yet again. Working as a PMR, I never know when someone may call and the whole week gets switched around. I have always felt that it is the Lord intervening, so it really doesn't bother me, when His hand is in it. My times are in His hand anyway. I will be at our little Vershire office this afternoon so am staying home from my bookkeeping job this morning so I can catch up on things around the house. Yesterday I spent the entire day in an office that I have not worked in for almost a year (except to just sort mail). It was nice to be there. Being a neighboring town, you see many faces that you know.  All seven offices that I work in are connected towns. It is enjoyable work and I am thankful that the Lord has kept my job open and given me just enough hours to be a help to my husband.  Today the biggest help I could be to Syd is to get these dishes done. When the counters are a mess his wife isn't very happy either, and he doesn't need that.  I've been testing out recipes lately, in hopes that I can get him the right foods (nothing contributing to kidney stones) - and that makes for more dirty dishes!

More on housework - Is anyone else experiencing an infestation of fruit flies? I have heard a few people over Facebook say that they are. We ARE. Tuesday at noon, after working the morning, I came home and tackled the vacuum cleaner. Isn't it funny, you start in the upright position and eventually grab the wand and get on your hands and knees. Truly, before I was done, I had crawled over every inch of my downstairs floor, dragging the vacuum behind me. In my travels I could not BELIEVE the amount of fruit flies. "Hundreds of thousands of them" had been my description to Syd a few weeks ago when I first saw them dead on the floors. This time they lay dead in masses along the crack of the windowsills, in certain areas of the floors. They seemed to be in patches. We had put little pots of vinegar out when they were in their 'flying mode' (which I am glad is now over). This was supposed to get them at bay and I think it did help a lot. I didn't mind every room smelling like a pickle as long as I wasn't finding a fruit fly in my coffee cup at every turn! When Syd got home from work Tuesday, I exclaimed about the dead fruit flies. His reply, "hundreds of thousands of them?" - "Yes!", I said!

Well, before I get to those dishes I wanted to say how thankful I am for a mid-week prayer meeting. Last night I noted so many answers to prayer; requests that had been given in the past. I use an old prayer sheet, so see a lot of requests that we had had in previous weeks. One of my prayer requests, which I had expressed in a blogpost back several weeks ago, was for the possibility of a ladies Bible study or a time where ladies could get together to talk and share blessings that the Lord has given them. This blog has been the greatest outlet for my own heart to pour out blessings that the Lord has given me through His word. Well, the Lord is answering prayer in this regard. He has laid on the heart of one of the ladies of our church, to pray about starting a Bible study for women. She is a blessed christian, and a somewhat "older woman" in our church (though she is not old). God is always so good and He answers prayer according to His timing, not ours. We just need to keep praying.  Another blessing during the service was reading from the Proverbs. Last night we read from chapters 9 and 10. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." This has been one of the verses we've been learning on in my children's Sunday school class for many weeks. At many turns, the Lord has been helping me to just scratch the surface of God's wisdom. He promises to teach us the fear of the Lord if we will come to Him and hearken unto Him (Ps 34:11 was one of our memory verses). One other answer to prayer concerns one of the little children who had come to Sunday school several weeks back but had not been able to return of late. His grandmother said that the Lord is working in his heart and that of his parents and he might begin to come again on a regular basis! This is such a joy to my heart, as it was to the church family! A hymn that we sang last night was, "Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus". As I'd mentioned in the blog the other day, having security in His love allows the christian to have the freedom to live a victorious, joyful life in Him. I am so thankful that the Lord just keeps reminding, teaching, answering prayer, reminding again, carrying us along, rebuking, loving....etc. day by day, all through our christian life! We are not in a competition to be most spiritual and we are not going to become mature all at once. All that we are to "be" is what He desires to make us. He says that He has begun a good work in us, and will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I was checking emails this morning and read one from my friend, Dottie. In it was a little story about two young children, a brother and a sister.  I want to paste it here for you to read:

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a

hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who

was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only

chance of recovery appeared to be a blood

transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had

miraculously survived the same disease and had

developed the antibodies needed to combat the

illness. The doctor explained the situation to her

little brother, and asked the little boy if he would

be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a

deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save

her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed

next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing

the color returning to her cheek. Then his face

grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a

trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the

doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his

sister all of his blood in order to save her. 
I enjoyed the little story, but mostly I loved the reminder that it brought to my heart. This young boy loved his sister and was willing to die for her. We have a Savoiur who loved the whole human race. He loved the unloveable and those who were totally His enemies. Romans 5:8 says that "God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." As I have put my trust in this Saviour who died for me, I now can be confident in the love that He "commended" to me personally. Lord, please teach me more fully the depths of your love each day so that I will walk in total love toward you and in love toward those who you put in my path.

It is time to tackle those dishes and whatever else comes up today. I'm so glad you stopped by Darling Hill. They say that we may experience temperatures toward 60 today - unbelievable! The roads will be getting plenty muddy very soon, as Spring approaches. Be careful, and keep in the middle of the road.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Confident in This Love

I hope that those of you who shared the Lord's day with other believers had a blessed time in God's Word.  Our pastor was preaching from Galatians chapter 5, about how we are not saved by keeping the law. The ten commandments were given to show us all that no one is good enough to get to God by our merits. It is wonderful to know that, once we have come to know Jesus Christ as our Savior, we cannot be KEPT saved by keeping a set of laws either.  He preached on verse 6, which says, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision; but faith with worketh by love."

As I now meditate on this beautiful verse and all that I, thus far, understand that it means, joy fills my heart. Love is the engine that runs my faith. Pastor also shared verses today from I John 4; being convinced of just how much God loves us is a key to loving Him the way we ought. There is such assurance in knowing how much God loves us. This security brings freedom to live for Jesus and this mature love casts out fear.

It made me think of a married couple who works together as a team. A woman who is confident of her husband's love is set free to be the kind of wife she is to be.  Jesus tells me in Matthew 11:28-30 to, "take my yoke upon you and learn of me...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." As our pastor pointed out today, a christian is married to Christ. The husband and wife relationship is to be a picture of Christ and his church. Knowing how much my Lord loves me gives complete freedom to let Him lead me to obedience, in this secure love; much like walking through my days confident in the security of a physical yoke-fellow relationship with my loving husband.

In studying through Ephesians 1, I've shared with my sunday school class that once we have put our trust in the Lord Jesus as Savior, we are 'put into an envelope' and sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. No one can take us out of this relationship that we now have with our Father. I meditated on this again the other day while putting mail into customer's boxes at the post office. There is a confidence in knowing the security that exists when each letter is placed into an individual's PO box. The letter is put there, not to be retrieved except by the recipient, the one who holds the key or knows the combination.

How sad indeed for a believer who is not totally convinced that the Heavenly Father loves him or her! This would bring about doubt and confusion as to how to walk through life. If we were not loved by our earthly father, at every turn we would suffer doubts as to whether we are pleasing him or not. What a blessing to know that there is nothing that I could do to make my loving heavenly Father hate me, and that there is nothing I need to DO to make Him love me more! He already loves me and demonstrated that love even when I was his enemy. "For God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". (Romans 5:8)

I pray, Lord, that I will realize more and more your total love for me. I wish to love you with all my heart, soul and mind so that this love motivates me to serve you and those whom you put in my daily path.

We celebrated two birthdays today. Pastor and Mrs. R (who happen to be my brother and sister-in-law) have birthdays only four days apart.  We celebrated with FOUR cakes! Syd and I brought two and the "A" family brought two. Pastor had requested that we make a cake for his wife, but he did not expect one for himself also, let alone 4 cakes! It was a sweet afternoon!